9 DAIES' WONDER - SIXTH DAY 26TH JULY 2006
Estimate on Map: 11.6 miles. Pedometer Reading 12.5 miles
Start of Jig 11.15 am. Finish 6.32pm.
Kempe recalls that on one day during his Nine Daies Wonder :
' Tom Slye (The Taberer) was earlier up then the Lark and sounded merrily the Morice'
This morning Nicholas does not appear until nearly a quarter to ten and thus we do not start jigging until well after eleven. We still make good progress however through the villages of Sibford Ferris, Shutford and Hanwell, describing an arc to the North East of Banbury. We finish, very tired about a mile and a half short of Cropredy, having crossed the M40.
On the way we bake in the sun, experience hithertofore undreamt of soreness of foot and are greeted warmly by many people.
As we commence we hear a loud noise and look up to see Hawks above our heads, flying at great speed and coloured red. Unusually, they fly in an arrow formation.
Just North of Hook Norton we meet N L Matthews, he gives Nicholas his card but drives off without talking to me. Do I frighten him?
Also we meet Derek Matthews, the Landlord of the Bell Inn in that settlement. I think he agrees that anyone mentioning the name of Peterkin the Fool in that establishment will be entitled to free beer, though if you are refused or your request meets with violence please blame me.
Later that day we meet his twin brother driving an identical vehicle. He claims that Derek is a bit mad.
In Sibford Ferris, a car load of people pulls in to the side of the road, and I jig up to them and bow my deepest courtesy. The driver looks very frightened waves her hand for me to go away and quickly turns around and drives off. I begin to get a little concerned.
Nicholas has taken to playing in strange time signatures. I try jigging in 17/8 and in 9/3 but look even more ridiculous than I normally do.
We meet a lady with a dog called Scrumpy. Scrumpy looks at me, whines and pulls away on her leash. I could begin to take this personally. Scrumpy's owner tells us: 'You're as queer as a diesel driven donut.'
As we pass a local feature called Jester's Hill, Nicholas serenades us with a strange version of the Beatles' 'Fool on the Hill' Apparently it 'doesn't fit' on the three fingered pipe he is playing and is almost completely unrecognisable. Over the next two miles I catch snatches of 'Yellow Submarine, 'God Save the Queen' and the Archers theme tune. He also starts doing hamster impressions. I wonder if the sun is affecting him.
Just past Shutford, Elfie the Malamute (A dog rather than a Tolkein character) barks and growls at me. I realize a little too late that wearing a costume for six days in this heat might have made me quite unpleasant to contemplate. This explains many people's behaviour through the day. The Perry Family tell us we are: 'quit potty, but really rather lovely' I ask Mrs Perry if that means she will consent to be my wife, but it appears she is already married.
The village of Hanwell brings us Celia who invites us in for a cup of tea. Today is the anniversary of her brother's death and she is really pleased to meet us because he would have loved the lunacy of our escapade. She tells us we are 'A filling short of a Sandwich' before dancing a jig with me. Half way through her partner returns with their granddaughter and I show her a magic trick marginally less skilful than my jig, Nicholas plays 'The Wheels on the Bus' for her on his pipe which has her giggling and skipping around. I am very jealous. Celia's partner tells us we are 'Top and short of a penny'
We end the day late and tired but now within 35 miles of Kelmarsh with three days jigging still to go.